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 Home >> Shelf:Life <<

Shelf:Life - what's new in the world of books and book collecting, links to the news stories that matter, and occassional comments by TheBookGuide.  Archived Stories.

August 2005Skip Free Registration

Cellular comic books serious business

Tokyo - Sony Pictures Entertainment will almost triple the number of comic books it formats for viewing on cellphones in a move that will make it the No. 1 provider of popular Japanese "manga" comics for cellphones, a company official said...more   Add a comment

Amazon's vital statistics show how books stack up
For all those folks who like to talk about books without actually reading them, some exciting news!, the pack-leading online superstore, has figured out an innovative, and some would say insidious, way to talk about books. Text Stats...more   Add a comment

A guide to dating Jews earns author 'Nazi' tag
Kristina Grish has been described as a 'Nazi' and little better than a prostitute. Her crime: writing a light-hearted, non-Jewish women's guide to understanding Jewish men...more   Add a comment

Amazing discovery unlocks Scots writer's past
I will never forget one particular autumn afternoon at New York University's Fales Library, where I had gone to see a handful of letters and short literary manuscripts by James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd (1770-1835). A pencil note on one of the two, slim folders mentioned Hogg's Border romance, The Three Perils of Man, with the cryptic reference "See bottom shelf"...more   Add a comment

UK Bank Holiday
It's the last Bank Holiday of the summer here in the UK, but TheBookGuide and the news will return on August 30th.

Save the a book

A campaign has been launched to encourage children to read more - and save the planet at the same time. Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland and ScottishPower want youngsters to switch off their TVs and computer games and pick up a good book instead...more   Add a comment

Book market grows this year in USA
Newly released numbers from Nielsen Entertainment present a mixed picture for books: a robust year, so far, with the industry doing significantly better numbers than it posted at this time last year. However, the piece of the entertainment pie represented by books continues to shrink...more   Add a comment

Rankin novels fail to detect high bidders
A first edition of Ian Rankin's debut Rebus novel sold for £300 at auction yesterday - almost £200 less than it was expected to fetch...more   Add a comment

John Thaw book fraudster jailed

A convicted fraudster who tried to cash in on the death of acting legend John Thaw has been jailed for 15 months...more   Add a comment

F.B.I.demands library's records
Using its expanded power under the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act, the F.B.I. is demanding library records from a Connecticut institution as part of an intelligence investigation, the American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday...more   Add a comment

Museum finds its rare book for sale in market
The Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University recently discovered that a rare and unique pictorial book was missing from its archives, after it was tipped off that the book was seen for sale in Merkato -- the country's largest open market...more   Add a comment

A loss of 'Common Sense'
ew Rochelle - Former members of the Thomas Paine National Historic Association are furious over the sale of some of Paine's works - including a first edition of "Common Sense" that some say helped sway New York state to join the American Revolution - to pay for museum repairs and to set up an interest-bearing fund...more   Add a comment

Making news after 300 years

The first edition of a 300-year-old Edinburgh newspaper has appeared for sale on an internet auction site. The Edinburgh Courant, which was published in February 1705, was one of the first newspapers in Britain and the Capital's main source of local information. The rare first copy is being sold by an Australian collector on eBay, and experts say it could fetch more than £400...more   Add a comment

Beano characters support library
Beano characters from the past and present have been brought together in a unique piece of art which will be auctioned in aid of the National Library for the Blind (NLB)...more   Add a comment

Silver Spring Books
Selling used books is difficult, both here, and in the USA. Dealers enter their profession through love of books, not love of money. Perhaps economic necessity explains why Silver Spring Books operates as a cooperative...more   Add a comment

Hitler cartoons sold at auction
A book of cartoons lampooning Adolf Hitler which were commended by the dictator have sold at auction for more than £200. Meanwhile, a lock of hair belonging to the Duke of Wellington along with a picture of him sold for £1,380 in a telephone bid from a private collector...more   Add a comment

£16m grant to restore splendour of library
The historic Picton Reading Room in Liverpool library is to be restored after winning a £16m government grant. Once completed, rare books and the seven miles of archives, including letters from Queen Victoria, Disraeli and Florence Nightingale, will go on display to the public...more   Add a comment

23.08.05 offers book lovers 'Digital Shorts'

Online retailer is offering short-form literature in digital format from new and established authors. The Seattle-based company is selling Amazon Shorts for 49 cents each. The works include samples from new authors, or alternate chapters and scenes to well-known stories, one-act plays, classic short stories and personal memoirs from writers that cover everything from food poisoning to contact lenses...more   Add a comment

Wanna buy books by weight?
An ongoing promotional activity at the Hymart-Hymall supermarket chain in China allows locals to buy books according to weight has failed to spark a buying frenzy, though it has raised some eyebrows...more   Add a comment

Attempt to smuggle old manuscripts foiled
Egyptian airport security Monday aborted an attempt by a British tourist to smuggle old Islamic transcripts out of the country...more   Add a comment

Book for sale, page at a time
Retired bookstore owner Helen Schlie can see a higher purpose in her decision to sell her 1830 first-edition Book of Mormon one page at a time...more   Add a comment

One last Gonzo blast from Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson, the journalist who became poet laureate of a drug-fueled American counterculture, bid a noisy farewell to his friends and his farm Saturday night as his cremated ashes were blasted into a cloudy Colorado sky amid a massive fireworks display...more   Add a comment

A book emergency? No problem
Parisian book-lovers desirous of a dose of Dumas in the dead of night or some Stendhal on a Sunday can turn to a new development in automated distribution - the book vending machine. Five bright yellow Livre à toute heure machines, stocking 25 contemporary and classic titles, have been installed around the city over the past six weeks...more   Add a comment

Elsie's red book given to charity
The famous red This Is Your Life book given to Coronation Street actress Pat Phoenix has been donated to a charity shop in Greater Manchester...more   Add a comment

'The bootho will be bigger than the euro'
Richard Booth, the second-hand book retailer and self-appointed King of Hay-on-Wye is planning to launch a new international currency, "the bootho", which he claims will be more widely used than the euro.
    Last week, Booth held talks with a London-based specialist derivatives dealer about setting up an international currency exchange on which boothos can be bought and sold. The move is part of a plan by the eccentric Oxford-educated retailer to create a global barter economy based around books...more   Add a comment

Kerouac's classic finally gets the Hollywood treatment

At last, 48 years after a new talent blazed into flame in American literature, Francis Ford Coppola is to film Jack Kerouac's seminal road novel that spoke for so many...more   Add a comment

Disney books tagged with sweatshop label
That was the charge an activist group made yesterday from outside the Disney Store on Fifth Ave. The protesters said most of Disney's children's books are made in two Chinese factories where workers put in up to 100 hours a week for pennies an hour...more   Add a comment

Arizona school issues laptops to replace books
Students at Arizona’s Empire High School won’t have to carry books anymore. Instead, they will use iBooks laptop computers, issued by the school to each of its 340 students, becoming one of the first U.S. public schools to do away with textbooks...more   Add a comment

The Ministry of Reshelving
The current Ministry initiative focuses on relocating a total of one thousand nine hundred and eighty four copies, across all 50 United States, of George Orwell's _1984_ from "fiction" or "literature" to more suitable sections, like "Current Affairs", "US Politics", "True Crime", or "New Non-Fiction." You are invited to join us in our reshelving efforts...more   Add a comment

Book publishers can't buck the web

Opinion: Google Print may or may not be the answer, but resisting the Web on the grounds of copyright won't help the publishing industry thrive...more   Add a comment

Book of Hitler cartoons to go under the hammer
A book containing a collection of newspaper and magazine cartoons lampooning Adolf Hitler is to go under the hammer later this month. Published in Germany in 1933, it is expected to attract significant interest because it was officially commended by Hitler himself...more   Add a comment

Self-styled king of Hay sells up
The self-proclaimed king of the second-hand book capital Hay-on-Wye has decided to sell his famous shop at the town's old fire station...more   Add a comment
    "King Richard's famous book shop is not at the town's old fire station,it's at 44 Lion Street.The old fire station is the very first shop he had, and where it all started from." Denise at Hay Castle, Servant to his Majesty.

UK children's books centre opens
A £6.5m national centre for children's books will be opened on today by children's laureate Jacqueline Wilson. Seven Stories in Newcastle will be home to prestigious collections of work by children's authors and illustrators...more   Add a comment

No News today...
TheBookGuide is away for a few days, but he and the news will return on August 19th. However, desperate news junkies can find links to 1,000's of book related stories and articles in our archives.

Brought to book

Midlands Co-op supermarket in Atherstone is taking up the 'book town' theme in the town by introducing a charity second-hand bookstall in its store...more   (Thanks to Clive Keeble for the link)  Add a comment

TS Eliot letters to be auctioned
A series of letters written by the poet TS Eliot to his godson are to be sold at auction next month. The collection of nearly 50 letters to Tom Faber will be sold by the Faber publishing family...more  Add a comment

Good Book price for eBay bible
A 400-year-old bible which is one of the rarest of its kind in Scotland has been put up for sale on an internet auction site. The bible, printed in Edinburgh in 1610, has been listed on auction site eBay with a starting bid of £500 and has already attracted 16 bids...more   Add a comment

Historic Americana auction
C. Wesley Cowan didn’t tout it, but his company celebrated its tenth anniversary with a "Historic Americana" auction in Montgomery, Ohio, June 8-10. More than 1400 lots were offered, grossing $1.6 million...more    Add a comment

Coaxed down the rabbit hole

"Lunar Park" begins with a coy, teasing fan dance performed by the author. Now you see him, now you don't: is this the real Bret Easton Ellis, baring his soul and revealing what it was like to be "insanely famous," to pose for sunglasses ads, to go on a three-day heroin binge in a four-star hotel? ...more  Add a comment

The literary Olympics: Brought to book
The judges of the Man Booker now know the 17 novels they have to choose from after the prize's long-list was announced yesterday. But, if previous years are anything to go by, the selection process will contain as much drama and intrigue as the books themselves...more  Add a comment

More maps missing
Officials at the Boston Public Library determined yesterday that a total of 10 valuable maps are missing, as a respected rare-maps dealer who used the missing materials appeared in a Connecticut courtroom to answer charges of stealing maps from Yale University...more  Add a comment

The human factor
Don McCullin would be the first to admit that at the heart of war photography - sometimes also called, notes Susan Sontag in her introduction to his collected work, "the photography of conscience" - is great moral ambiguity...more  Add a comment

Map dealer pleads not guilty to Yale theft

A renowned dealer in antique maps whose arrest sent librarians scurrying to review the world’s rarest map collections pleaded not guilty Tuesday to looting Yale University of three centuries-old maps...more  Add a comment

Molecular biology collection makes "several million dollars"
The Jeremy Norman collection, as the papers are known, was put together before the materials had any clear market value. Mr. Norman and Al Seckel, two private collectors in California, started gathering the papers at a time when some scientists were discarding their archives, and many institutions had no interest in them...more  Add a comment

Harry Potter grips al-Qa'eda suspects at Guantanamo Bay
The Harry Potter craze has reached the cells of Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay. The ripping tales of the boy wizard are said to be top of the request list for the prison's 520 al-Qa'eda and Taliban suspects...more  Add a comment

A handy guide to chuggers in pelmets
On your way into work today you may have been stopped by a chugger. It is possible you made several calls on your handy and passed many greige buildings and people wearing pelmets. Confused? These are some of the new words and phrases to appear in the revised second edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English, the press's biggest single-volume dictionary of current English...more  Add a comment

Bad books are welcome here

Titles such as "How to Cook a Peacock" and "Ten Crochet Dude Dishcloths" have, against all the odds, been published, and read, via an American Web site,, which was introduced in Britain last week. Lulu enables writers to load their work onto the Web site at no cost, and the books are printed individually in paperback each time an order is placed...more  Add a comment
    Though I wrote a protest to the editor of the Telegraph as soon as this article appeared, little did I know it would propagate across the world. In a nutshell, I didn't say the incredibly damaging words which - as a quote from me - have fed such headlines as this. The Telegraph's reporter, in interviewing me about several books (mainly my translation of a medieval cookbook and my monologue books) asked briefly about two photography books I'd put up as an experiment. I idly said they were just my own travel photos, not professional photographs. Somehow that became "They're not very good". Not quite the same at all, eh? (My photographs have won at least one prize and been published elsewhere as well.) - It really takes so little to do so much damage. Jim Chevallier.

    As Bob Young, the publisher of the website states in the article: "There is no question that there is an awful lot of [expletive] on the site", perhaps you should address your comments to him. TBG.

Coffee drinkers to get taste of Scottish poetry
Coffee drinkers can turn into culture vultures when they visit a poetry-themed coffee shop set to open on the Canongate. The new branch of Starbucks is to offer customers the chance to browse Scottish poetry books in store, as well as read Robert Burns verses inscribed on the walls...more  Add a comment

New York Rare book store to close
Twenty years ago, former teacher Martha Kelly bought Gutenberg Books on Monroe Avenue, Rochester. It had been a dream of hers to own the store known for having a good selection of old and rare books. Kelly died earlier this year and now the store must close...more  Add a comment

Map theft Dealer in court
Seven rare and valuable maps are missing from five books at the Boston Public Library, and curators are searching for more holes in the collection, as a respected rare maps dealer who used the missing materials appears in court today on theft charges...more  Add a comment

Dalmellington - the Book Town with no books

Some of you might remember an article I wrote a while ago about Dalmellington - the Book Town with no books. What it did have was lots of misleading road signs, which from far and wide, boldly proclaimed ‘Dalmellington Book Town’.
    I'm pleased to be able to report that these signs have now been erased, largely as a result of the many complaints that readers took the trouble to send to the council.

Rushdie calls for Islamic Reformation
"What is needed now is a move beyond tradition -- nothing less than a reform movement to bring the core concepts of Islam into the modern age, a Muslim Reformation to combat not only the jihadist ideologues but also the dusty, stifling seminaries of the traditionalists, throwing open the windows to let in much-needed fresh air," he said...more  Add a comment

Keeping Dostoyevsky safe from the surf
While it might be useful on a beach when the tide comes in, the creator of the waterproof book says his target is U.S. middle-aged women who read in the tub...more  Add a comment

Pott of gold
A rare copy of a Harry Potter book is to be auctioned to raise money to help victims of the Niger famine. The first edition of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was found among novels donated to an Oxfam bookshop in Edinburgh. It is estimated the book could be worth at least £2,500...more  Add a comment

McMurtry shelves the idea of closing

Larry McMurtry, the irascible author of 60 books and screenplays - including "Lonesome Dove" and "Terms of Endearment" - has reversed course and decided not to close his peculiar and beloved bookshop that represents the hub of the economy in the dusty Texas outpost of Archer City...more  Add a comment

Escaping the net
As libraries increasingly make room for computers, Marina Warner argues that only books - and the sensory access of the real - can unleash imagination...more  Add a comment

Mold forces library closure
The two-year-old Rice Street Library in St. Paul will be closed for as long as a week while environmental crews assess and clean up a mold problem discovered earlier this week in the heating and air conditioning system...more  Add a comment

Book haven plans party
After 70 years Bell's Books in Palo Alto is a place of pilgrimage for book lovers -- a landmark shop which right from the start was a place where books of quality, mostly old but some new, could be found, eclectic reading advice given and like-minded friends made...more  Add a comment

Festival trip is a closed book for prisoners

Twelve prisoners who won a competition to find Britain's best reading group were unable to accept their prize - an all-expenses-paid trip to a book festival...more  Add a comment

For the love of books
"Used bookstores stay open these days because of the owners' love of books," said Rochester Institute of Technology media professor Frank Romano. Most owners don't rely on sales from the shelves. Many have other income sources: They own the store's property or they rent at a really low rate...more  Add a comment

Internet threatens old-fashioned sales venues
With online commerce through sites like eBay expected to reach $79 billion this year, traditional flea markets and kitschy garage-sales can’t keep up...more  Add a comment

Jacko tell-all books

Two jurors who acquitted Michael Jackson of child molestation charges now say they think the US pop star was guilty - and they are penning tell-all books about the jury's deliberations...more  Add a comment

Oldest known Bible to go online
A manuscript containing the oldest known Biblical New Testament in the world is set to enter the digital age and become accessible online...more  Add a comment

Idyllic world of books
Neal and Ailsa Hawes have owned and managed the Idle Hour Book Inn in Rotorua, New Zealand, for the last 12 years - an idyllic form of making a living, they say, not least because they have the option of being able to lose themselves in a good novel whenever customers are not in the store...more  Add a comment

"Avant Garde Graphics 1918-1934"

The exhibition, at Kettle's Yard Gallery, University of Cambridge, is a rare opportunity to see posters, prints, book designs and political and commercial ephemera, together with original layouts and photomontages, produced by some of the most important artists working at that time...more  Add a comment

Plath's Sketch of Ted Hughes for sale
Sylvia Plath, best remembered for writing angry poems about men, such as "Daddy", did a drawing of Ted Hughes in the early days of their marriage. The sketch of her poet-husband may raise as much as £20,000 at a London auction on October 3, said Bonhams...more  Add a comment

New atlas offers insights into !Xoop
In a world where globalisation leads to the death of one language every fortnight, it is hoped that the World Atlas of Language Structures will help to revive a wilting interest in linguistics...more  Add a comment

Bookstores feel pinch of Internet
It used to be that Monterey had a cluster of thriving used bookstores. Many are still in business, though with different owners or names...more  Add a comment

Child suicide-bomber book bestseller

A children's novel with a storyline about a mixed-race teenage girl being groomed to become a suicide bomber by the leader of a white terrorist group had become a bestseller during the past month, a leading book store said today...more  Add a comment

Long-lost medical book discovered
A rare 400-year-old medical book has been found beneath the floorboards of a lawyer's home in Edinburgh. The illustrated English-language copy of the Ten Books of Surgery is one of only 22 in known existence...more  Add a comment

Government to pay authors for library lending
The Irish government has finally bowed to pressure from the European Commission to pay authors for books borrowed in public libraries, it emerged today. It means that authors will now be paid royalties every time their books are borrowed from libraries, rather than just for one single copy...more  Add a comment

Finders, readers

Bookcrossing is a literary treasure hunt that starts and finishes online. Someone leaves a book they love for others to find and see whether they love it too. And its top 50 reveals some surprise choices...more  Add a comment

A brand new rediscovery of grand old Delhi
Sniffing out history through narrow by-lanes and broad tree-lined avenues of Delhi these days are a bunch of enthusiastic treasure hunters hot on the trail of the Capital's written legacy. Covering obscure temples, tiny mosques and even the odd slum cluster, the search for manuscripts launched by the National Mission for Manuscripts here this past week has led to some exciting discoveries in totally unexpected quarters...more  Add a comment

Endangered collections
Thousands of tiny, unwanted visitors live on the shelves of Montgomery's main library, and they have claimed the lives of 15 rare books...more  Add a comment

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